Friday, 19 February 2010

An excerpt from DIY Musicians - on www.mattstevensguitar.com

Find your niche, click here to read the full article

Don't go chasing the mainstream - its not there any more.  Whatever you are into thanks to the internet there is a forum or group or community about it - just find it and engage. Don't go in saying:

CHECK ME OUT I'M AMAZING

People will think - just another random spammer and ignore you.  Have a genuine conversation, engage with the community and eventually people will discover your music naturally.  As the very wise Steve Lawson said "Treat the internet like a country pub" - you wouldn't go into a bar and start shouting about how great you are would you? Of course not - they would think you are a nutter!!

Its far better to be honest and do the music you love, people can spot bullshit a mile off. Be passionate about what you do and talk to people about your music and make your music shareable so that others can spread the word.

Just be honest or no one will listen, people expect you to be real.

What Social Networks should I be on?

That depends to an extent what sort of music you play and your audience. The essentials are Twitter, Facebook, Myspace(even thou its rubbish, people still look there), your own email mailing list(use Reverbnation for this) and your own web site.

Ning networks are also useful if relevant to your niche - i use the these:

Acoustic Magazine

AF Collective

Go to Ning and do a search on Belgian Grindcore or Dutch Folk or whatever music you do and find your community.

Use the social media tools you are most comfortable with - video, podcasts, written word, photos or any combination you feel comfortable with. The more comfortable you are, the more honest you can be and the better connections you make.

Blogs?

You need a blog of your own - host it at blogger or wordpress, don't use the Myspace one its horrible! Write when you have something to say but try and keep it within once or twice a week.  Post photos in it using Flickr then get the code from there to add photos to add to your blog.

Contact other bloggers do a Google Blog Search on a similar artist to yourself and start making friends with the bloggers that write about them.  DO NOT SPAM!! Make friends - enjoy their blogs - comment, email to say you enjoy reading, engage and be honest.  Then you may be in a position for them  to write about your music. Another useful way to find bloggers is to hunt for them on hypem again using a similar artist.

4 comments:

kevin said...

I agree with most of that :-)
I would suggest it better to have a blog hosted on your own domain rather than Wordpress or Blogger as you then have more control and if your 'blog' (I hate that word!) becomes popular, you can possibly arrange some form of sponsorship to help cover your costs.
You can also set up different entry pages easily, to see how your marketing and promotions are working which will show up in your web stats.
I'd also look at having profiles on websites like 'Bebo' and 'Virb' they can be conected to your Twitter feed so they get updated without you having to do very much once they are in place.
It is also useful to use 'Google Alerts' to see how often and where your 'blog' or website gets mentioned so you can see if your marketing is working.
It helps if you don't look at yourself as a 'DIY musician', you are a business, your music is your product. If you think slightly differently, it's amazing how many more doors appear to open to help promote your music.
There are websites and people out there who will help promote you and are happy to do so, find them and make use of them.

Have a great day
Kevin

Matt Stevens said...

Thanks mate, really useful points. The google alert is a top idea.

Coming from the hardcore punk/metal background I love the whole DIY ethos but I can see your point - is indie a better term?

Kevin said...

I don't think any of the terms work that people use.
The problem with being an 'independent' musician, is that a large number of people will associate you with 'indie' music and not listen to you if they don't like 'indie' music.
I've never understood why musicians can't just be musicians?
Regardless of if they have backing of a record company. There are many wedding photographers out there who have mon-fri jobs and photograph weddings at weekends. They are classed as wedding photographers, not DIY photographers.
There are many artists and bands whose music may not ever get heard, because they don't approach certain things in the correct way. It doesn't matter what banner you want to work under. Until there is a more professional attitude and understanding of what needs to be done by most of the 'indie' artists out there, they will never get very far, not matter how many blogs they read about how to do things.

Have a great day
Kevin

Matt Stevens said...

I would a agree that the terms are rubbish really - they go back to the days when "major" labels were still relevant. The term "Musician" is the only one really req'd.

Thanks for posting that dude.

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